Archive

Date

May 8th, 2014

Burning the Beret

    Monica Lewinsky says she would meet me for a drink.

    I'm game.

    In her new meditation in Vanity Fair, Monica mashes Hawthorne and Coleridge, proclaiming that she's ready to rip off her "scarlet-A albatross," "reimagine" her identity and reclaim her narrative.

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Go Big, Get Crazy

    Up to now, Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has been playing a weak hand in Ukraine very well. I mean, how strong are you when your allies insist on wearing masks? But Putin thinks he knows his adversaries better than they know themselves. He thinks the Americans will never be serious about energy, that the Europeans will never be serious about sanctions, that the Ukrainian reformers will never be serious about governance, and that he can control the separatist forces he's unleashed in eastern Ukraine and dial them up or down as he pleases.

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In Drought, Fortunes Are Made

    This summer, even drinking water may be hard to find in some central California towns. This region is in its third year of drought, among the worst in recorded history.

    Yet agribusinesses are planting huge new groves of thirsty almond and pistachio trees. Bear in mind, these are permanent plantings. A quick crop such as alfalfa can be plowed under during a water crisis. Trees and vines, on the other hand, need years to mature. An acre could be a $3 million investment.

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Senate Democrats' prospects brighten in South

    Democrats are cautiously optimistic they can hang on to the Senate this year. Surprisingly, this bright forecast is fueled by a sense they'll do better than expected in close contests in the Republican-dominated, Barack Obama-hating South.

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Time for some happy talk

    Democrats, if you want to win in the fall, take some advice from Pharrell Williams: "Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth."

    The Mountie-hat-wearing pop singer's infectious "Happy" should be the Democratic Party's theme song for the midterm election. Despite Republican claims to the contrary, things are definitely looking up. Democrats ought to be clicking their heels and spreading the good news.

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Bring back firing squads? We do worse

    Bungled executions by lethal injection are beginning to make firing squads look good. Seriously.

    I did not always feel this way. I'm an opponent of the death penalty.

    But with lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions being raised about their effectiveness, a seemingly humane form of execution is looking a lot less palatable than such old-fashioned methods as the rope or a team of sharpshooters.

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Devaluing Work and Workers

    The Great Recession leveled a blow to the middle and working classes from which they haven’t yet recovered.

    Given that labor’s pay and prestige in America peaked in the 1960s, this isn’t exactly new. Still, it’s time that all our leaders took this challenge more seriously. After all, we don’t just have the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer anymore. The middle is collapsing.

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Grotesque

    That's what the Simon Wiesenthal Center called the assignment given to eighth-grade students in Rialto, Calif., to research and write an argumentative essay about whether the Holocaust actually happened or was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth."

    Who came up with this assignment? Apparently, it was a group effort, the work of a group of teachers and the district's "educational services division."

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Honoring the Missing Schoolgirls

    When Boko Haram fanatics attacked a girls' boarding school in northeastern Nigeria, kidnapping several hundred girls whose only offense was to dream of becoming doctors, teachers or lawyers, the Nigerian authorities' initial response was to lie.

    The military promptly claimed that it had freed 107 of the girls. In fact, it had done nothing, and, the girls' parents say, it has continued to do little for the three weeks since.

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It's the Viral Season

    Alas, poor J.D. Winteregg. We knew him . um, actually not very well at all.

    Winteregg ran as a Tea Party challenger to the House speaker, John Boehner, in this week's Ohio primaries. He only got about 22 percent of the vote. So he's gone, politically speaking. But not forgotten, thanks to his video charging Boehner with "electile dysfunction."

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